Featured Healthy Living Skin

“I’m Allergic To My Partner … & Maybe My Kids!”: Skin Issues From Close Contact

“Connubial or Consort Contact Dermatitis” is thing!

While some skin lesions can be associated with sexual activity (infection, friction, etc.) — which is why it’s so important not to self diagnose! — other types of close contact can cause skin problems.

“Connubial or consort allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the agent causing the dermatitis has not been used by the patient but by his partner or other cohabitants or proxy. Most cases are due to fragrances, cosmetics or topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents.”1

In other words, Connubial or Consort Contact Dermatitis (also called Contact dermatitis “by proxy”) occurs when you experience contact dermatitis due to something that you’re not using yourself but that is being used by someone you come into close contact with or live with. The most common culprits are the top contact allergens.

Connubial contact dermatitis can occur from contact with your partner if they use a soap or lotion that contains your allergens. It can also occur between parents and children when using products with lots of fragrance (which tends to be common in baby products) or other allergens.

It can even occur when applying a cream meant to provide relief from a skin irritation, as in a 2013 paper published in the journal Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology (Exuberant connubial allergic contact dermatitis from diphenhydramine) which reported how a woman applying a topical medication for itching, pain and irritations on her husband’s back experienced contact dermatitis herself.

How else can connubial/consort contact dermatitis occur?

• In close contact sports: allergens from skincare products, clothing, laundry soap, even medications can be excreted in sweat. In fact, heat, humidity, and sweat can increase their reactivity. Wrestling or grappling with a partner who is wearing or using things with your allergens could cause a reaction in your skin, even if they are unaffected.

• Contact during sexual activity with lubricants or condoms that have or are made with materials that you are allergic to.

• Chronic skin issues on a certain side of the face or body could indicate a sensitivity to something your partner is using if that side is where you tend to lean on them when cuddling. This could also be from other issues, of course, such as working next to a window facing that side of your face or sleeping on that side (your pillowcase material or laundry soap could be a factor). Your dermatologist, especially if they are a contact dermatitis specialist, can help determine possible triggers.

Other important things to know:

1. Not all skin problems on the genitalia are from sexual activity. Some can be due to your body wash or laundry soap. Others like Molluscum contagiosum can come from fomites (towels and sheets).

2. You should never be embarrassed about seeking out medical care for a skin lesion bothering you on or in the genitalia. This is what dermatologists are for and they have seen it all.

3. Virgin coconut oil and monolaurin are both safe enough for use on the genital areas. But like all oils, VCO should not be used as a lubricant when using latex condoms.

4. If you have a current infection (bacterial, viral, etc.) that is not normally transmitted through sexual activity or other close contact, you could still theoretically pass it on to another person if they have become immunocompromised due to stress, certain medications, or fighting off another illness.

5. Some skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis can seem contagious but are not. You do not get eczema (atopic dermatitis) or psoriasis from contact.

6. Because people can be allergic to what others around them use, choosing products without the top contact allergens — in everything from your haircare, to your body wash, body lotion, skincare, makeup, and laundry soap — can be safer for you and the people closest to you.

It is therefore not a stretch to say: when you choose allergen-free products, you’re not just looking out for yourself; you’re also looking out for others!


1. Teixeira V et al. Exuberant connubial allergic contact dermatitis from diphenhydramine. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2014 Mar;33(1):82-4. doi: 10.3109/15569527.2013.812106. Epub 2013 Jul 12. PMID: 23848819.

2. Paravina M., Nedeva M., Bajic L. Contact Dermatitis – A review of the literature with the Connubial type in focusActa Medica Medianae 2019;58(4):152-157.

3. McFadden, J. (2014). Proxy Contact Dermatitis, or Contact Dermatitis “by Proxy” (Consort or Connubial Dermatitis). 10.1007/978-3-642-45395-3_10.

4. Ho KK et al. Contact dermatitis: a comparative and translational review of the literature. Vet Dermatol. 2015 Oct;26(5):314-27, e66-7. doi: 10.1111/vde.12229. Epub 2015 Jul 16. PMID: 26184842.

Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Featured Healthy Living Skin

Skin & Food Allergies Are Not The Same Thing

If You Can’t Eat It, You Can Probably Still Use It In A Cream.

“I’m allergic to almonds…can I use a cream with an ingredient extracted from almonds?” “I can’t eat coconuts…that means I can’t use coconut oil, right?”

If you have prick tested positive to something, it is more likely than not that you can still use it on your skin.

The main reason is that, while complex, skin and other allergies involve such different cells, systems, and modalities.

Quick Breakdown

There are 4 types of reactions that we tend to have. Type 1 and Type 4 are most relevant to prick tests and patch tests.

Type 1: asthma, naso-bronchial allergies, pets, dust mites, pollen, and food

  • Is IgE-mediated and involves antibodies.
  • Is what a lot of us think of when we think about an allergic reaction (the trouble breathing (anaphylaxis), puffing up, urticaria, etc.
  • While there can be some delayed responses, always something happens quickly — within 60 minutes. This reaction is very straightforward because it is IgE mediated and IgE exists in the body.
  • Food is included here but is more complicated (see below)

Type 4: contact dermatitis

  • Is non-IgE mediated and does not involve antibodies.
  • It is T-cell mediated.
  • The response is not immediate as with Type 1. It is delayed because there is more of a process. There has to be a sensitization that then triggers a reaction to occur. This can take a week to many weeks.
  • Instead of being IgE-mediated, this is T-cell mediated.

Food Reactions Can Be More Complicated

Food reactions include…

  • IgE-mediated: e.g. strawberries, peanuts
  • Non IgE-mediated: food protein-induced enterocolitis, which is T cell-mediated, does not happen immediately, and is usually outgrown, such as when a baby is allergic to the protein found in cow’s milk.
  • Non-allergic reaction which is metabolic: such as when you don’t have the enzyme needed to break down sugar lactose, i.e., you’re lactose intolerant).
  • Food allergies can be difficult to isolate because there can be many substances at play in one food. This is especially true for drugs. Drugs are made up of so many compounds so it is very difficult to isolate the trigger. This is why drug IgE testing is rare and very hard to distinguish. On the other hand, an allergy to a drug with skin manifestations can be patch tested.
  • Other food reactions include:
    • Adverse reaction (non-immune mediated)
    • Toxic (puffer fish toxin)
    • Conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is not an allergy but has the same symptoms.

Where It Gets More Complex for Skin: Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a different type of allergy with many theories still being explored. Inheritance plays a factor. One theory is regarding the presence of over-reactors — in which case, an over-reaction to food may also occur. And contact dermatitis is frequently a factor.

There is also “atopic march”: if you had eczema as child, you could be more likely to have asthma and naso-bronchial allergies as an adult.

For more on atopic dermatitis (eczema), check out What Is Eczema.

What To Know If You Have Skin & Food Allergies:

1. A prick test is for IgE, involves antibodies, and can be more complicated. Even if you prick test positive to shellfish, for example, your allergist needs to correlate the findings with your history to determine if you really cannot eat shellfish.

2. A patch test is very straightforward: If you patch test positive to something, contact with it will be a problem.

3. If your prick test is positive for something — unless you ALSO patch test positive to it — you can probably use it on your skin because the modalities and systems are so different. For example, if you prick test positive for almonds, the chances are very high that you can use a product on your skin with an ingredient extracted from almonds.

3. If you patch test and prick test positive to something, you need to avoid it in food and in your skin. For example, if you patch and prick test positive to nickel, you’ll react to it when touching it and if it is in your food.

Which Test To Get, and From Which Doctor?

For a patch test, see a dermatologist. For a prick test, see an allergist.

Some allergists do patch testing, too. But if you have a long history of stubborn skin reactions, we’d suggest seeing a dermatologist who is a contact dermatitis specialist for your patch testing. They are…specialists! They would have more patch test tray options, can really help identify what you need to avoid, and can identify other possible skin conditions that may also need to be managed. If you also have non-skin allergies, your contact dermatitis specialist can work closely with your allergist.

How to find such a doctor?

  • In the USA: search You can search by zip code and members of the American Contact Dermatitis Society also use CAMP (the Contact Allergen Management Program) to show you not just the ingredients and substances you need to avoid but brands and products that you can use (where you’ll see VMV Hypoallergenics a lot!)
  • In the Philippines: PM VMV Skin Research Centre + Clinics, where patch testing is a specialty.
  • In other countries: ask your official dermatological society about local contact dermatitis experts who offer patch testing.

How Else VMV Hypoallergenics Can Help?

Ask us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results and even possible cross reactants.

Otherwise, use the VH-Rating to shop safely for VMV products! Check out this helpful video on how it works.

At VMV, we make it easy to be guided by your patch test.

1) We practice allergen ommision

As our basis for what to omit, we refer to studies by independent groups of doctors who specialize in contact dermatitis, such as the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies. They regularly publish top contact allergens based on thousands of patch tests done in multiple countries.

2) We do our own patch testing…

…not just of the final formulation but also of each ingredient, raw material, and applicators (and we do allergen reviews of packaging, too).

3) Our VH-Rating System shows how many of the top contact allergens are NOT in a formulation.

If an allergen is included, the VH-Rating is lower and marked by an asterisk which corresponds to the ingredients list — you’ll see the allergen clearly marked with the asterisk and underlined, too. If they’re not allergens that you patch tested positive to, you can still use the product.

The VH-Rating System has been so effective that a clinical study published in a leading contact dermatitis journal showed less than 0.1% reactions reported in over 30 years.

4) We manufacture our own products.

We can ensure that our formulations are not mixed, stored, or handled in containers used for formulations with allergens, or otherwise contaminated by allergens..


Data regarding the effects (positive or negative) of topical skin treatments on fetal or infant development at this point may be inconclusive; but for anything taken orally, you should be conscientious and always consult your doctor beforehand. You’ll be seeing your gynecologist soon and regularly, then your child’s pediatrician. These visits, more than anything, will help you best monitor your baby’s healthy development. This information should not be considered medical advice. Particularly if you have a medical condition, before you change anything in your skincare or other practices related to pregnancy or nursing, ask your doctor.

Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Featured Healthy Living

Put Virgin Coconut Oil In Your Coffee!

It’s a faster, simpler way to “bullet coffee” that gives you the same energy boost with more benefits for your skin, body, heart, and brain!

Eat less:

Virgin coconut oil is high in calories but they’re healthy calories. It has excellent satiety, so that it may help you consume less throughout the day by making you feel full, longer.

Help your immune system:

There are many published studies on the antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal) benefits of VCO, lauric acid, and other coconut derivatives. Check out this study review for some of them.

Get more energy:

Get more kick from your coffee. VCO is rich in medium-chain triglycerides and, instead of being stored as fat, its fatty acids are processed by the liver into energy. This could also…

Increase your metabolic rate…

…which helps your body burn fat more quickly.

Other health benefits

Our bodies’ cell walls (including those of our skin) are made up of lipids. VCO helps strengthen those cell walls. It’s also cholesterol-free and great for heart health. Other studies show promise for brain health, too. And VCO is a great natural laxative.

How to?

Getting all the magic of VCO in your morning coffee is super easy. Add a tablespoon of Know-It-Oil or Oil’s well to your coffee (along with coconut sugar or your choice of sweetener) and blend until mixture turns a light color. Or, pour the VCO directly into your cup — there will be a film of oil on top but it’s the same goodness and yumminess (and less cleanup)!

This information should not be considered medical advice. Particularly if you have a medical condition, before you change anything in your diet, ask your doctor.

Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Featured Healthy Living Skin

Study Review: Coconut Oil, Monolaurin & Other Derivatives As Antivirals

The quick summary:

There are multiple published clinical studies on the antimicrobial properties of virgin coconut oil (VCO) and its derivatives, and they’ve been around longer than you may think.

We asked a leading dermatologist and dermatopathologist, Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell, who is a specialist in contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and its secondary infections — and whose regularly-cited studies on virgin coconut oil and monolaurin have helped us understand their clinical, nutritional, and cosmetic applications — for a review of these studies to help us better understand how virgin coconut oil and its derivatives really hold up against some of the most common microbes.

Her review spanned laboratory and clinical disinfection studies on VCO and derivatives compared with alcohol since the 1970s.

It seems that VCO and its derivatives are as effective as alcohol in typical hand sanitizers but with some important differences.

Her detailed review follows below but this simple summary shares the highlights of how coconut derivatives compare against alcohol, the all-time classic against viruses.

1. Alcohol, at very high concentrations, kills viruses

Alcohol is virucidal, significantly so at 85%, less so at 70-80%. Check your hand sanitizer to make sure it that it contains alcohol at these concentrations.

2. VCO and its derivatives are as effective as 85% alcohol, but at much lower concentrations due to how they work

Alcohol works by denaturing the virus’s protein materials. VCO and its derivatives are as effective but they act in a different way: they act on lipids so they directly disintegrate the viral envelope, which destroys the rest of the virus.

Lauric acid monoglyceride as 2% monolaurin has been shown to kill not just viruses but also fungi as well as gram (+) and (-) bacteria, and some of their resistant strains.

3. Pros and cons of alcohol versus VCO and its derivatives

VCO, its derivatives, and alcohol all have immediate effects but alcohol evaporates quickly (is transient). VCO and its derivatives are lipids (fats). They stay longer on surface skin and mucosa, so their antimicrobial effects last longer.

VCO can also be used to gargle with, and our clinic and research center regularly prescribes monolaurin pellets to be taken orally as daily supplements.

A virtually-pure monolaurin (96%) in hand sanitizers and other leave-on products is an excellent alternative. Its studies are so consistent that VMV Hypoallergenics uses monolaurin in the majority of our products as part of our proprietary self-preserving system and to protect skins with compromised barrier functions (such as in psoriasis and eczema) from microbial colonization.

These products are more expensive than alcohol-based ones but their antiviral action on the breakdown of enveloped viruses and other microbes, combined with their moisturizing and longer-lasting effects, are desirable, especially with frequent use. These can be applied to hands and nostrils, including the inside mucosa that can be easily reached.

4. What about price?

If 80-85% alcohol is available, that’s great and usually very affordable. If not, and if clean water is available, a hand or body wash with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laurel sulfate (SLES), is better to use than diluted alcohol. SLS and SLES are relatively cheap coconut oil derivatives made with lauric acid. They are often found as a saponifier in bar soaps (read ingredient labels for its presence) and in some hair and body washes. Just make sure to choose products with lower concentrations of SLS or SLES and with no allergens or irritants in the formulation. While not an allergen, SLS and SLES, just like alcohol, can be irritating (more so SLS than SLES) as their concentration increases.

As an alternative, VCO can be used. When we do medical outreaches, the doctors we work with teach patients to make their own coconut oil, if coconuts are more readily available than other options. We then instruct them to massage the VCO well — rubbing it into the skin — to help the lipases in non-/pathogenic microbes in the skin break down the VCO into its monoglycerides and fatty acids, especially into lauric acid and monolaurin. The slippery feel of the oil disappears quickly because 65% of its fatty acids are short to medium chain.

What about on 2019-nCoV (coronavirus)?

In January, 2020, The Potential of Coconut Oil and its Derivatives as Effective and Safe Antiviral Agents Against the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV-2019), a study by Professor Emeritus Dr. Fabian Antonio Dayrit and Dr. Mary Newport, explored “the potential use of coconut oil as a safe antiviral agent against the novel coronavirus.” It posed the question…

“Several researchers have been designing drugs to specifically target protease enzymes in coronavirus, but testing for these drugs is many months away. What if there is a treatment candidate against the coronavirus that might already be available and whose safety is already established?”

They continue: “Lauric acid (C12) and monolaurin, its derivative, have been known for many years to have significant antiviral activity. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid which makes up about 50% of coconut oil; monolaurin is a metabolite that is naturally produced by the body’s own enzymes upon ingestion of coconut oil and is also available in pure form as a supplement. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a common surfactant that is made from lauric acid, has been shown to have potent antiviral properties. Lauric acid, monolaurin, and sodium lauryl sulfate (which is also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate) are used in a wide range of products for their antiviral properties.”

How is monolaurin a compelling candidate for novel coronavirus?

Doctors Dayrit and Newport explain lauric acid and monolaurin’s antiviral mechanisms: “first, they cause disintegration of the virus envelope; second, they can inhibit late maturation stage in the virus replicative cycle; and third, they can prevent the binding of viral proteins to the host cell membrane.”

Monolaurin works by disintegrating the virus membrane.

Both the 2020 study and Dr. Verallo-Rowell’s review point to the antiviral studies of lauric acid and monolaurin from as early as 1979. A 1982 study by Hierholzer & Kabara “showed that monolaurin was able to reduce infectivity of 14 human RNA and DNA enveloped viruses in cell culture by >99.9%” with monolaurin working specifically by disintegrating the virus envelope (later validated by further studies; see review).

Because monolaurin works by preventing maturation, it prevents replication.

A 2001 study on fatty acids against the Junin virus (JUNV; the cause of Argentine hemorrhagic fever) showed that lauric acid was the most effective at inhibiting “a late maturation stage in the replicative cycle of JUNV.”

As a result, this may slow down the increase in viral load in the body.

Monolaurin prevents the virus from binding to our cells.

Instead of influencing protein synthesis in the viral membrane, lauric acid prevents binding to the host cell.

Doctors Dayrit and Newport cite a 1994 study showing that lauric acid prevented infectious vesicular stomatitis by preventing the viral proteins from binding to the healthy host’s cells’ membranes. Furthermore, removing the lauric acid removed the antiviral effect.

It is important to emphasize that, to our knowledge as of this writing, monolaurin has not been tested on nCoV-2019 specifically (neither has alcohol). This information is compelling but needs validation on this particular virus. The available evidence seems to suggest similar efficacy to alcohol in destroying enveloped viruses and some coronaviruses. Follow your doctor’s instructions, and rely on trusted sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and your country’s department of health. For the study review of VCO, monolaurin and other coconut oil derivatives as antivirals, antibacterials and antifungals, continue reading. 

Study Review: Broad Spectrum Anti-Virals, -Bacterials, -Fungals From Coconut Oil And Its Derivatives by Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell, MD, FPDS, FAAD, FASDP, FADA

Since 2007, Dr. Verallo-Rowell has treated, disinfected, and prevented recurrences on H. simplex Virus 1 and 2, Verrucae, Molluscum contagiosum, and various other skin infections using 96% monolaurin in oral pellets, 2-4% monolaurin in topical preparations, and 1% monocaprin topical preparations, with high efficacy and very rare adverse reactions.

She often combines the use of these monolaurin products with the daily application of cold-pressed, organic virgin coconut oil (VCO) which, in addition to its broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties, has humectant, occlusive, lipid cell membrane and skin barrier repair capabilities, from its unique fatty acids and glycerin.

She also regularly uses 2-4% monolaurin in hand gels and in petrolatum for antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal antisepsis.

The summary of her study review states: “Virgin coconut oil and its derivatives are shown in laboratory and translational clinical studies to have a broad-spectrum, antimicrobial effectivity on viruses, bacteria and fungi. Most of the studies are published in international, a few in regional journals. Still fewer are pilot trials that similarly show these antimicrobial effects against various organism types.”

Introduction to virgin coconut oil and its derivatives

“Like all vegetable oils, coconut oil (CO) is made up of triglycerides which have three fatty acids (FAs) linked to the three carbons in its core glycerin molecule.

Lipase enzymes of non-pathogenic microbes present normally in the skin, and pathogens that may invade it, break down the links, first to a di- then a mono-glyceride, and lastly, into its glycerin and three-fatty acid components.

VCO has about 50% Lauric acid, and 7% Capric acid. The monoglycerides of these two fatty acids have broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects as seen in a few pilot studies; and in laboratory studies and clinical trials published in international and regional journals since the 1970s.

In our studies, we use virgin coconut oil (VCO) that is cold pressed with no heat, certified organic, and freshly harvested to ensure purity, maximum content of important fatty acids, its monoglycerides, fatty acids, and its anti-oxidants .”

Monolaurin, Monocaprin and VCO Anti-Viral Laboratory and Clinical Studies

The antiviral activities of Lauric acid and monolaurin were first noted by Sands and co-worker in 1979. In 1982, monolaurin was shown to be highly antiviral, at times, at 10 times less concentration, than its Lauric Fatty acid. Five years later in 1987, monolaurin is confirmed as highly anti-viral at concentrations 10 times less than Lauric acid. This study also showed that both monolaurin and Lauric acid inactivate viruses by cell membrane disintegration. A 1994 study showed that Lauric acid had a dose-dependent, reversible inhibition of infectious vesicular stomatitis virus production. When Lauric acid was absent, this antiviral effect disappeared. Lauric acid did not influence viral membrane (M) protein synthesis, but prevented binding to the host cell membrane. In 1999, monocaprin was shown to be a feasible mucosal microbicide to prevent sexually transmitted infections such as Neisseria gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV.

In the 2000s, studies were published on coconut oil for HIV-AIDS (repeated in 2016 with forty HIV subjects with CD4+ T lymphocyte counts divided into a VCO group and control group (no VCO). The VCO group showed significantly higher average age CD4+ T lymphocyte counts versus control after 6 weeks. Monolaurin for Molluscum contagiosum (a skin virus), and monolaurin in a gel is highly active on repeated high viral loads of Simean immunodeficiency virus in macaques. A study in 2001 on saturated C10 to C18 fatty acids against JUNV (an enveloped virus and the causative agent of Argentine hemorrhagic fever) infection showed Lauric acid as the most active inhibitor. Mechanistic studies from transmission electron microscopic images from 2012 concluded that Lauric acid inhibited a late maturation stage in the replicative cycle of JUNV.

In 2007, monoglycerides were tested on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human parainfluenza virus type 2 (HPIV2) at different concentrations, times, and pH levels, with monocaprin (even as low as 0.06-0.12%) showing the most activity against influenza A virus.

From 2015 onwards, studies show monolaurin’s efficacy in a wider range of viruses, from avian influenza virus in chickens, to the female genital tract in Rhesus macaques. Further studies show coconut oil and its derivatives as safe and effective antiviral compounds in both humans and animals against envelope viruses, causing complete envelopes, plasma membranes, and viral particles to disintegrate, lyse, and cause the death of cultured cells. Because of the antiviral and antibacterial protection that it provides to animals, coconut oil, as well as lauric acid and monolaurin, are used in farm animals and pets as veterinary feed supplements in chicken, swine and dogs.

Studies Reviewed:
  1. Sands JA, Auperin LD, Reinhardt A. Enveloped virus inactivation by fatty acid derivatives. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1979;15(1):134–136. doi:10.1128/aac.15.1.134.
  2. Hierholzer JC, Kabara JJ. In vitro effects of monolaurin compounds on enveloped RNA and DNA viruses. J Food Safety 1982;4:1–12.
  3. Thormar H et al. Inactivation of enveloped viruses and killing of cells by fatty acids and monoglycerides. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1987 Jan;31(1):27-31.
  4. Thormar H, Isaacs CE, Brown HR, Barshatzky MR, Pessolano T. Inactivation of Enveloped Viruses and Killing of Cells by Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 1987; 31(1): 27-31.
  5. Hornung B, Amtmann E, Sauer G. Lauric acid inhibits the maturation of vesicular stomatitis virus. Journal of General Virology, 1994; 75: 353-361.
  6. Thormar H, Bergsson G, Gunnarsson E, et al. Hydrogels containing monocaprin have potent microbicidal activities against sexually transmitted viruses and bacteria in vitro. Sex Transm Infect. 1999;75(3):181–185. doi:10.1136/sti.75.3.181
  7. Kristmundsdóttir T, Arnadóttir SG, Bergsson G, Thormar H. Development and evaluation of microbicidal hydrogels containing monoglyceride as the active ingredient. Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, 1999; 88(10): 1011-1015.
  8. Dayrit CS. Coconut Oil in Health and Disease: Its and Monolaurin’s Potential as Cure for FOR HIV/AIDS. XXXVII Cocotech Meeting. Chennai, India. July 25, 2000.
  9. Bartolotta S, Garcí CC, Candurra NA, Damonte EB. Effect of fatty acids on arenavirus replication: inhibition of virus production by lauric acid. Archives of Virology, 2001; 146(4): 777-790.
  10. Chua EO, Verallo-Rowell VM. Coconut oil extract 2% Monolaurin cream in the treatment of Molluscum contagiosum. A randomized double-blind vehicle-controlled trial. Scientific Poster presentation Semi-Finalist. In Abstracts, World Congress of Dermatology October 1-5 2007, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  11. Hilmarsson H, Traustason BS, Kristmundsdóttir T, Thormar H. Virucidal activities of medium- and long-chain fatty alcohols and lipids against respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus type 2: comparison at different pH levels. Archives of Virology 2007: 152(12):2225-36.
  12. Li Q, Estes JD, Schlievert PM, et al. Glycerol monolaurate prevents mucosal SIV transmission. Nature. 2009;458(7241):1034–1038. doi:10.1038/nature07831.
  13. Grant A, Seregin A, Huang C, Kolokoltsova O, Brasier A, Peters C, Paessler S. Junín Virus Pathogenesis and Virus Replication. Viruses, 2012; 4: 2317-2339.
  14. van der Sluis W. Potential antiviral properties of alpha-monolaurin. Poultry World. Downloaded from
  15. Widhiarta KD. Virgin Coconut Oil for HIV – Positive People. Cord, 2016; 32 (1): 50-57.
  16. Kirtane AR, Rothenberger MK, Frieberg A, et al. Evaluation of vaginal drug levels and safety of a locally administered glycerol monolaurate cream in Rhesus macaques. Journal of Pharmaceutical Science 2017; 106(7):1821-1827.
  17. Baltić B, Starčević M, Đorđević J, Mrdović B, Marković R. Importance of medium chain fatty acids in animal nutrition. IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 2017; 85: 012048.
  18. Verallo-Rowell V.M., Katalbas S.S., Evangelista M.T., Dayrit J.F. Curr. Dermatol. Rep., 2018, 7: 24.
  19. Yan B, Chu H, Yang D, et al. Characterization of the Lipidomic Profile of Human Coronavirus-Infected Cells: Implications for Lipid Metabolism Remodeling upon Coronavirus Replication. Viruses. 2019;11(1):73. Published 2019 Jan 16. doi:10.3390/v11010073
  20. De Sousa ALM, Pinheiro RR, Araújo JF, et al. Sodium dodecyl sulfate as a viral inactivator and future perspectives in the control of small ruminant lentiviruses. Arquivos do Instituto Biológico, 2019; 86. Epub Nov 28, 2019.
Featured Healthy Living Skin

Another Disinfection Technique: Wash Your Hands, Use Monolaurin…and Virgin Coconut Oil Your Nose!

With new bugs and superbugs, we’re looking for more ways to prevent infection. Improving our nutrition and overall well being is important (which includes lessening stress and getting enough sleep). Another is increasing our probiotic intake. Some classic best practices include frequent and proper hand washing, upping your use of hand sanitizer, and wiping down surfaces with alcohol or bleach. But while alcohol isn’t an allergen, it is drying and all that sanitation can cause skin problems, particularly on your hands. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) and its derivatives like monolaurin could be just what you need to stay safer while keeping your skin comfortable and healthy.

Why VCO and Monolaurin?

Lauric acid monoglyceride as 2% monolaurin and virgin coconut oil (VCO) have studies going as far back as the 1970s showing their efficacy against viruses (including enveloped viruses) and comparably so with 85% alcohol.

VCO and its derivatives, even at lower concentrations, directly disintegrate the viral envelope which destroys the rest of the virus (alcohol denatures the virus’s protein materials). While both act immediately, alcohol evaporates quickly (is transient) while VCO and its derivatives, being fats, stay longer on surface skin and mucosa, so that their antimicrobial effects last longer. And, unlike alcohol, VCO and monolaurin do all this while moisturizing the skin instead of drying it out.

Furthermore, VCO and its derivatives kill not just viruses but fungi as well as gram (+) and (-) bacteria — and some of their resistant strains — so you get broad-spectrum protection that feels yummy on the skin.

That yummy feeling isn’t just for pleasure, either. VCO and monolaurin have important anti-inflammatory effects.

Try This Technique

As with all things related to health and infection, consult your doctor and refer to trusted sources like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1) Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Ideally, use a wash that contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laurel sulfate (SLES) which are made with lauric acid from coconut oil. Just make sure to choose a product like Superwash that has lower concentrations of SLES (less irritating than SLS) and that has no allergens or irritants in the formulation. While not an allergen, SLES and SLS, just like alcohol, can be irritating (SLS is more so) as their concentration increases. If you do not have an SLES or SLS-cleanser handy, soap is fine. Wash your hands well, covering all surfaces and scrubbing under your nails. If you’ve been commuting or out in a crowd, wash until your elbows.

2) Wash Your Face

This isn’t always necessary but if you’re concerned about contagion, are immune-compromised, or are feeling vulnerable, get a gentle SLS facial cleanser like any SuperSkin Care Cleanser and wash your face, too. Besides your face being almost as exposed as your hands, we tend to touch our faces a lot more than we think.

End of the day?

If you’re home and staying put, go ahead and take a full shower. Use Superwash and your SLS-cleanser.

3) Snort Your Coconut Oil

Ok, while you could, in fact, snort it, it’s more comfortable (and less messy) to rub it in there instead. Pour some VCO onto a cotton swab or tissue. If your tissue or swab is new and real clean, you can also dip one end of it into the oil. Swipe the oil all around the insides of your nostrils. Massage well: this helps the lipases in the skin break down the VCO into its monoglycerides and fatty acids, including the awesome antimicrobials lauric acid and monolaurin. Throw the swab or tissue away properly.

Pro Tip 1: Want extra protection?

Try Oil’s Well which has only those two magical ingredients: virgin coconut oil and monolaurin.

Pro Tip 2: Dry, painful nostrils?

If you’ve been blowing your nose a lot, or they’re raw from allergies or cold weather, use Boo-Boo Balm in your nostrils instead. It contains virgin coconut oil and monolaurin but in a balm for quicker healing.

4) Hand Sanitize with Monolaurin

Rub monolaurin hand sanitizer all over your hands, including under your nails. Don’t wipe it off: let it air dry (it takes just a few seconds).

Pro Tip 1: We love multitaskers

Both Id Monolaurin Gel and Kid Gloves Make-It-Cleaner Hand Gel are multipurpose, with lots of great skin benefits from sweat acne to mattifying skin, and keeping you feeling cool and fresh (you can even apply them on your underarms to control odor or if the stress of the day has made things extra sweaty).

Pro Tip 2: You’re spoiled with a choice

You’ve run out? Not a problem! Use virgin coconut oil alone or a product that contains VCO and/or the right percentage of pure monolaurin — like any of our moisturizers and hand lotions. They’re great stand-ins!


It is important to emphasize that, to our knowledge as of this writing, monolaurin has not been tested on nCoV-2019 specifically (neither has alcohol). This information is compelling but needs validation on this particular virus. The available evidence seems to suggest similar efficacy to alcohol in destroying enveloped viruses and some coronaviruses. Follow your doctor’s instructions, and rely on trusted sources such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and your country’s department of health. For a study review of VCO, monolaurin and other coconut oil derivatives as antivirals, antibacterials and antifungals, click here.

Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Featured Healthy Living

“Nut” Is Really Short For NUT-rients!

For Your Health, It’s About What “Nut” To Do…

“Crazy” and “nutty” as words for something frantic or over-the-top might be falling out of favor because they may contribute to the trivialization of mental health concerns…and their negative connotations certainly do edible nuts a disservice! Nuts are incredibly rich in some of the most essential nutrients and have been valued as excellent foods for thousands of years.

Archeological findings lead scientists to believe that nuts have been a popular food source dating as far back as 50,000 B.C. According to some historians, almonds, mentioned in the old testament of the bible, were the earliest cultivated food. Simply because of their fondness for it, Romans called walnuts “food for the gods.” The cashew, popular in the Philippines, originated in Brazil but already had been cultivated since the 16th century in India and Africa. It was the Spanish who first brought this nut to the shores of the Philippines. It is said that nuts were the first universal “convenient” food source because of the ease in transporting them and their relatively longer shelf-life.

Nuts quickly became a popular trading product for this ease, flavor, and ability to provide satiety (feeling of fullness), but most importantly, for their nutritional value and benefits to the human body. They’re even great for the skin — keep in mind that skin and food allergies involve different cells and don’t always correlate (get a patch test for skin allergies and a prick test for food). All this goodness paved the way for how popular and indispensable nuts remain in the culinary world and in human diets around the globe.

Here are my top 5 picks of nutritiously-rich nuts, with their corresponding nutrient values, benefits, and recommendations:


1 serving = 1 oz/ 28 g
Calories: 161

How do almonds benefit the body?
  • Beneficial impact on blood sugar due to a good amount and combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates;
  • Consumption can help improve lipid profile in the long run;
  • Impacts oxidative damage (vitamin E as antioxidant) and satiety level;
  • Improves proper energy metabolism (B2 and magnesium);
  • Helps in the growth and development of body organs (copper and phosphorus);
  • Aids in proper metabolism of nutrients and nerve function (manganese and magnesium
  • Improves digestion (fiber content)

Although almonds are great in general, over consumption can block proper absorption of some minerals due to its content of phytic acid, known to be an anti-nutrient when ingested (it is actually beneficial in skincare as a chelating agent that promotes antioxidant activity by reducing lipid peroxidation and free radical generation). Almonds also have a high ratio of omega 6 to 3 (omega 3 is considered the healthy and anti-inflammatory fat), which could lead to imbalances. It is therefore important to not overdo it and balance out your intake by consuming a variety of omega 3-rich foods such as fatty fish and fortified eggs.

How can almonds be added to your diet?
  1. As a topping for salads, cereals or breakfast grains, cooked foods
  2. As a spread by using almond butter
  3. As a substitute for refined flour
  4. As an ingredient when making desserts
  5. Added to smoothies or drinks
  6. As a healthy, on-the-go snack


1 serving = 1 oz/ 28 g
Calories: 155

How do cashews benefit the body?
  • Contain compounds, such as lutein and zeaxthanin, that fight against eyesight and macular degeneration;
  • Keep blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy (copper and iron);
  • May help in wound healing and proper taste and smell (zinc);
  • Support proper metabolism of nutrients (magnesium and phosphorus)

As much as cashews are a great addition to the diet, if you’re on a low-carb diet, be cautious. Cashews are higher in carbohydrates than any other type of nut. Cashews also have a more anaphylactic (a severe allergic reaction that can be fatal) effect than peanuts. If you’re not allergic, and if consumed in proper amounts, cashews are highly beneficial to the body considering their nutrient content.

How can cashews be added to your diet?
  1. As a healthy, energy-giving snack
  2. As a substitute ingredient in sauces that require thickness or richness in taste;
  3. As a topping for salads, breakfast cereals or grains, and cooked dishes;
  4. Added to smoothies or baked products


1 serving = 1 oz/ 28 g
Calories: 183

How do walnuts benefit the body?
  • Fight against oxidation damage (omega 3);
  • Reduce risk factors by helping to lower blood pressure and blood glucose;
  • Help maintain cognitive function with positive effects on brain health due to rich amounts of healthy fats and phytochemicals;
  • Aid for reaching satiety level faster

Historically, walnuts are the most popular type of nut consumed. This remains true today. However, they can still pose a threat to those who have nut allergies.

How can walnuts be added to your diet?
  1. May be added to any dish
  2. As a lone snack or mixed with other snacks
  3. As an ingredient for cooking or baking
  4. May be ground up to create dough
  5. As a delicious, nutritious diet food that quickly helps you feel full


1 serving = 1 oz/ 28 g
Calories: 193

How do pecans benefit the body?
  • Reduce risk of heart disease (presence of polyphenol compounds);
  • Help improve triglycerides and elevate HDL (high oleic acid content);
  • Improve digestion and help cleanse gastrointestinal system (fiber);
  • May help reduce risk of certain cancers like breast and colon (healthy fats and fiber);
  • Aid in proper nerve conduction and brain function as well as boost immunity (manganese);
  • Reduce inflammatory indicators in the body (presence of minerals)

Although the pecan has very positive attributes, do take into consideration that the ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 is one of the highest among nuts. This obvious imbalance may cause inflammation. Keep inflammation at bay by eating lots of food that is rich in omega 3 such as fish, egg, and certain seeds. Typically, people allergic to nuts may also find this nut a threat.

How can pecans be added to your diet?
  1. Great addition to meals
  2. As an ingredient in baking products
  3. As part of a healthy snack
  4. As a substitute ingredient to enrich sauces
  5. As a food to aid in weight loss


1 serving = 1 oz/ 28 g
Calories: 156

How do pistachios benefit the body?
  • Reduce triglycerides level;
  • Positive impact on exercise performance and oxidative stress levels after exercise;
  • Prevent macular degenerations (great for eye health);
  • Rich in antioxidants;
  • Help lower cholesterol and blood pressure;
  • Aid in weight loss (low in calories but high in protein);
  • Promote healthy blood vessels (presence of minerals);
  • May lower blood sugar (low glycemic index)

As much as they are delicious to eat, pistachios can also be challenging because they need to be shelled before eating. They can also be allergenic and may contain aflatoxins (mold) that may be beyond what is safe. Caution is key.

How can pistachios be added to your diet?
  1. Great ingredient in dishes and desserts
  2. May be sprinkled on favorite breakfast cereals, salads, or yogurt
  3. As part of healthy snack or food, especially after a workout session
  4. As part of weight loss food


1 serving = 1 oz/ 28 g
Calories: 204

How do pili nuts benefit the body?
  • Help improve hearth health and cognitive development (presence of omega fatty acids);
  • Improve or maintain bone health (presence of minerals);
  • Regulate blood sugar levels (presence of fat and proteins);
  • May help relax blood vessels and lower hypertension (magnesium);
  • Reduce inflammation (presence of antioxidants);
  • Aid in lowering LDL levels (presence of omega fatty acids);
  • Aid in weight loss while boosting energy levels

Rich, delicious, packed with nutrient goodness, and abundantly found in the Philippines, pili nuts are heavenly to eat but lack the fiber that the other nuts are known for. Make sure to add fiber-rich food in your diet. The pili nut is also high in calories so control your portions.

How can pili nuts be added to your diet?

The same way you would use other nuts. Just take note of how much you consume to keep your health goals in check.

In a nutshell:

Nuts have remained part of the human diet for centuries. Their benefits to the body cannot be ignored. They are considered one of the best diet foods to help you control weight. While there are concerns with portion control, the good news is that their satiety means they make you feel full faster and stay feeling full for longer. Make sure to check with your allergist so that you can eat them safely, and then definitely dive into the wonderful world of nuts!


Check out the other posts related to health and nutrition:

Eat Right, Exercise, Daily Skincare Regimen: Healthy Habits to Look & Feel Your Best

Your Skin Wants You To EAT Your Antioxidants

Your Skin Wants You To Exercise Daily: 30-Day Healthy Skin Challenge

Nutrition & Lifestyle Counselor Ginny Sinense-Marksl, RN-D, is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman and a member of National Kidney Foundation in the USA. She’s been an avid student and practitioner of health and nutrition her entire adult life — professionally, for 20 years. Her passion is for overall wellbeing, other than just health and fitness, and she is a frequent speaker at corporate wellness events. She believes health is our life power and that we should take any chance that we get to optimize it!

Featured Healthy Living Skin

Skin and Nutrition: 5 Foods To Add For Healthy Skin

Beauty is within…

The phrase “beauty is within” may seem spiritual or philosophical but it is evidently true in science and our physical well being.

There has been an explosion of fortifying food, beverages, and even beauty products with vitamins and minerals (natural additives) intended to enhance a product’s effectiveness. Assuming they are present in the stated concentrations, how can these so-called natural additives improve effectiveness? These natural additives are essential components for the efficient functioning of each cell in our body. The possible result, therefore, in a particular product fortified with these natural additives is that the product could be more effective than others without them. But nothing beats eating foods that are naturally rich in these vitamins and minerals.

Each of our cells is a vital part of a larger organ and each cell in our body thrives on proper nourishment and protection to ensure its optimal function. Of all the organs in our body, the skin is the largest. This beautiful armor encases our body to house other organs, protects our body from harmful things we come in contact with in our environment, helps us regulate our bodily temperature, and allows us to interpret sensations (pain, wet, soft, etc.). The skin is also a mirror of our nutritional status. Give your body the proper nourishment and it shows, beautifully, on healthy, glowing skin. Add these 5 food essentials to your daily diet for a inside-out health:


While common contact allergens, citrus fruits are important to eat (just take care to avoid skin contact if you’ve patch tested positive for them). They are well-known good sources of vitamin C, which aids in the production of collagen (the protein that forms the basic structure of the skin). A study on over 4,000 women aged 40-74 published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked nutrient intake and skin aging. The study found that women who had a higher intake of vitamin C were less likely to have dryness of the skin and wrinkles, and more likely to have better skin-aging appearance. Citrus fruits are also abundant in antioxidants that prevent skin from cellular damage. So for smooth, taut skin, add citruses to your salad, eat them as snacks, or drink them!

Good sources are: oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, guava, pomegranate, lemon, lime.


The sea contains treasures far beyond pearls. Fish and shellfish are rich sources of zinc and the important fatty acid omega-3.

Zinc is an essential mineral that can help combat acne since it is involved in metabolizing testosterone which affects the production of sebum, the oily substance that is one cause of a certain type of acne. Zinc can also facilitate the sloughing of dead skin cells by boosting new-cell production.

An increase of omega-3 in the diet can significantly reduce inflammation and dryness of the skin. Inflammations can hasten the skin aging process and are linked to many skin problems.

For youthful and glowing skin, fire up your grill with salmon, tuna, halibut, or prawns, or tame your hunger pangs with a warm seafood chowder. If you are more adventurous, shuck some fresh oysters or whip up an enticingly spicy Ceviche!

NOTE: seafood can be rich in iodides so control your intake if you have halogen acne.


They add color to any dish but more importantly, they are rich sources of vitamin A and beta-carotenes.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that facilitates the removal of dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. It helps in collagen production and in thickening the dermis (the layer of the skin that contains collagen, which is an important protein that hydrates the skin and keeps its elasticity).

Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant, protecting the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals. Furthermore, it helps reduce sun-induced skin damage and may help improve melasma. German researchers found that as little as 30 milligrams a day (the equivalent of 11/2 cups of cooked carrots) can help prevent or reduce the redness and inflammation associated with sunburn. “Beta carotene accumulates in the skin, providing 24-hour protection against sun damage,” says Ronald R. Watson, Ph.D., professor of public health research at Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson. Its use for skin protection is a reason why it is added in many supplements and topical creams.

For radiant-looking and smooth skin, enrich your diet with vitamin A- and beta carotene-filled colored fruits and vegetables such as mango, apricot, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, broccoli, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash and collard greens.

NOTE: while vital to your health, beta carotene-rich foods cannot replace the daily use of sunscreen.


These alternative sources of protein have the added bonus of being rich in the cleansing substance, fiber. Fiber is important to rid the body of waste and impurities. Nuts and seeds also contain a highly effective antioxidant in vitamin E.

Protein helps repair cells that have been damaged by free radicals. When protien is digested it is converted into amino acids, the building blocks of cells, which helps speed up the repair of skin cells and collagen.

Vitamin E is another top contact allergen but excellent fat-soluble vitamin that inhibits further damage of cells caused by free radicals — so if you have sensitive skin, eat it instead of spreading it on in a cream. It works together with other groups of nutrients like vitamin C, gluthathione, slenenium, and vitamin B3 to counter oxygen molecules that become too reactive (highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules damage the structure of the cells surrounding them).

Aging may be inevitable but having youthful, soft skin is attainable. Try sprinkling some nuts and seeds on your favorite dishes and salads and (with proper skincare and daily sunscreen use) watch those age lines ease up on you! Choose from walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, macadamia, pecans, brazil nuts, sunflowers seeds, sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

NOTE: as always, follow your allergist’s instructions.


“Whole” grains simply means: grains that did not undergo the extensive processing to remove their harder covering…which actually is the part containing the nutrients our body needs. Whole grains are rich in rutin and vitamin B.

Rutin is a bioflavonoid, found abundantly in buckwheat, and may be considered as an antioxidant working synergistically with vitamin C. One of its main functions is the proper absorption of vitamin C in the body. Rutin helps prevent vitamin C from being metabolized, which in turn enhances its benefits in the immune system.

Vitamin B is linked to acne (truer more for vitamin B12 but also for vitamin B6) but is very important to your body’s health! It strengthens the skin’s barrier by hydrating cells and acts as an anti-inflammatory, preventing redness and irritation of the skin. It aids in healthy skin-cell turnover. It is also said to help metabolize macronutrients and the absence of vitamin B renders the skin susceptible to skin lesions and light sensitivity.

For fresh, clear and more moisturized-looking skin, have a slice of your favorite buckwheat, whole wheat, rye, or multigrain bread! If you’re not fond of bread, brown rice or whole-wheat noodles might do some vitamin B goodness. Just go easy on the portions please!

NOTE: do not automatically assume that vitamin B is causing your acne. There are many types of acne and many possible causes, and vitamin B is too important to your health to avoid without your doctor’s ok.


This list is a helpful guide and by no means the only food that is helpful to the skin. Our skin needs protection and nourishment for it to be at its best. The bottom line on nourishment for our skin is still to have a diet that is nutritionally dense, varied, balanced and well-proportioned, plus engaging in physical activity that ensures the proper distribution of these nutrients throughout the body.


Check out the other posts related to skin, exercise, and nutrition:

Eat Right, Exercise, Daily Skincare Regimen: Healthy Habits to Look & Feel Your Best

Your Skin Wants You To EAT Your Antioxidants

Your Skin Wants You To Exercise Daily: 30-Day Healthy Skin Challenge

Nutrition & Lifestyle Counselor Ginny Sinense-Marksl, RN-D, is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman and a member of National Kidney Foundation in the USA. She’s been an avid student and practitioner of health and nutrition her entire adult life — professionally, for 20 years. Her passion is for overall wellbeing, other than just health and fitness, and she is a frequent speaker at corporate wellness events. She believes health is our life power and that we should take any chance that we get to optimize it!

Beauty Healthy Living Skin Tip of the Week

Top 40 Skin, Makeup, Health & Happiness Tips!

Pause, please. 

40 years of published and awarded research on skin, hypoallergenicity, and clinically-effective care has led us more and more to this fact: what affects the skin is far more than what is applied on it.

Science is showing just how interdependent — how linked — all aspects of our health are. The care of skin cannot be separated from what we eat, how often we exercise, underlying health conditions, and how well we sleep and manage stress.

It’s time to pause, review, and share some of the most proven ways to care for all aspects of health — skin, body, and mind.

Healthy Living Uncategorized

Garden-To-Table: Sweet Potatoes & Herbs

Sweet Potatoes & Herbs

I’m no gardener and we don’t have a pretty garden. We’ve always liked the idea of growing our own food (and in the case of our organic virgin coconut oil, food and skincare 🙂 ) and have taken the same approach to it as we have our work — gleeful experimentation! Mango tree here, pomelo tree there…ooh why not try tomatoes…or corn! It’s more Jungle Book than Secret Garden but it’s so rewarding to get food from our back yard! Bonus: kid-popular non-digital play alternative. Those are my two creatures at “harvest.” Bonus-bonus: kids learn that food grows (it isn’t “born” in a box or bottle), that natural food isn’t supposed to be manicured-pretty, and they learn what food tastes like when it’s less or unprocessed.



A recent triumph: SWEET POTATOES.

There are thousands of varieties that grow easily in different weather and soil conditions. They play well with others (the photo below shows our ripening sweet potatoes leaves next to lemongrass.)


They work for so many recipes: from healthier (they are packed with antioxidants and fiber) french fries to mashes and sweet treats…and I just learned that the tops are fab in salads and soups! All this makes them perfect for most gardens. They’re not bad-looking plants either (corn is a…commitment).

Another super easy grow: HERBS.



We use fresh herbs in most of our cooking and salads now. And in something I’m particularly proud of — drinks!



I can’t stress enough how important garnishes are to a cocktail. In the best gins (I come from a long line of gin lovers), different garnishes change the drink completely, bringing out wildly different notes. I’ve even discovered that lavender does lovely things to certain espressos!




From an apartment windowsill, to a garden or local urban farm, getting food as close to the source as possible means a few pretty wonderful things:

  • Less preservatives: foods need preservation to survive long transport and days on shelves.
  • Less processing: most foods need some processing for consumption (even simple slicing or peeling is a type of processing). But the more processing (more chopping and dicing, heat, added chemicals), the more antioxidants, phytochemicals and other good stuff is lost. If it’s grown, picked, put in a canvas bag and brought home, that’s already a lot less than the processing that happens with truckloads of harvests and food preparation.
  • Healthier foods: see above…less processing equals better retention of the food’s inherent antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. No hydrogenation is needed for longer preservation either (hydrogenation results in trans fats). And less additives — many of which are ingredients that our bodies cannot process or process well — in general, too.
  • Fun family activity: whether the kids are doing the actual gardening or just helping you shop at a local farm or market, the sights and smells are an adventure in themselves, and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about nature, food and health.


Healthy Living

Infused Water Recipes

By Holly Byerly

Gearing up for an active and eventful season — working out more or traveling the globe —it is vital that we keep hydrated with water. The recommended eight glasses a day (closer to nine 8 oz. glasses for women, thirteen glasses for men and even more for children) can sometimes leave us wanting something more. For variety, we often reach for sugary, artificial flavor-ridden alternatives. Below are some healthy hydrating alternatives (any of these infused waters easily keeps for 2 days; just add more filtered water as needed) that I keep stocked in my fridge all year long. Enjoy!



Sweet Basil & Strawberry Refresher

1 Full Pitcher of Filtered Water

3 Large Strawberries – Sliced

10 Large Basil Leaves – Torn in half



Citrus Wakeup Water

1 Full Pitcher of Filtered Water

1 Lime – Sliced

1 Lemon – Sliced

1 Orange – Sliced

2-4 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary



Cucumber-Ginger Cooler

1 Full Pitcher of Filtered Water

1 Small Cucumber – Sliced

10 Thin Slices of Fresh Ginger



Pear-Mint Hydrating Chill

1 Full Pitcher of Filtered Water

1 Crisp Pear – Sliced

4-5 Sprigs of Fresh Mint – Crushed in hand

Try it as a hot tea, too!

Note: Citruses, strawberries and mint can be allergenic (both as foods and on skin, which can manifest as acne, rashes or darkening around the mouth and chin). If you’re allergic to any of these ingredients, swap out for alternatives! The wonderful thing about these infused waters is how many ingredients work well with them, and how little fruit or vegetables you need to subtle, deliciously, flavor your water.

Got a recipe to share? Tell us about it below!